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The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  2,692 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
Finally, a weight-training book that doesn’t treat women like weaklings!

If you believe what most women’s magazines tell you, muscles can be “shaped,” “toned,” and “sculpted” with nothing more than a little dumbbell that weighs less than a can of peas. But muscles aren’t modeling clay, and the only way to transform them is to strengthen them. The New Rules of Lifting for
Paperback, 258 pages
Published April 29th 2010 by Michael Joseph (first published December 27th 2005)
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Dec 29, 2011 Al rated it liked it
I would love to do a feminist deconstruction of this book. A "women's" fitness book written by a man with workouts designed by another man? A book that claims to be about lifting but instead emphasizes weight loss, "looking like a goddess" and being stronger but not looking strong? A book that constantly refers to and assumes how women think versus how men think? But let's let the English major in me shut down for a second, and let's let the gym rat in me take over and review this book for what ...more
Nov 09, 2009 Virna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women who want to lift like men
If I can get away with it, I'd choose not to do any kind of sports except lounging on a La-Z-boy reading Oprah's pick-of-the-month. Seriously, I never would've imagined that lifting weights would be as fun as lifting a size-12 Zara LBD out of a discounted rack. I was in a no-size zone (Zara carries no size-18+) prior to lifting weights, but last September just out of boredom and invited by a friend, I joined a big-name gym next to where I worked. They offered a couple of free sessions w/ a train ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: exercise
I'm really on the fence about this book.
Things I liked:
+ The author is funny! The book is entertaining.

+ I learned things! (Although with a caveat (see below).) I now know why building muscle helps build strong bones, and that there are different types of muscles - strength and endurance.

Things I didn't like:
- Author says you HAVE to have a post workout shake, either whey or soy. What if you can't have either? And the author also says to eat less processed foods. What do they do to this stuff
Karen Bell
Oct 14, 2012 Karen Bell rated it really liked it

This is a great book and I cannot thanks the authors enough for writing it in such an approachable way. I bought it having never lifted free weights & having not worked out regularly for about 10 years, and dived into this book to balance a new daily cardio habit that was getting old fast. It's changed both my body & my self-confidence in ways I never imagined possible. I'm in stage 6 of 7 now, and the workouts are tough, but I love them. I leave the gym feeling like a badass every time
Jun 30, 2010 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on lifting I've ever read. The "new rules" of lifting for women are essentially that there are no "rules of lifting for women"--having read the book cover to cover, I'm guessing the title was invented by an intrepid young public relations intern skimming the manuscript on an airplane four hours before deadline--women can and should lift the way men do. Use lots of weight, with fewer reps. Eat protein. Etc. What I loved about this book is the author's painstaking, pleasantly ...more
Apr 02, 2013 Marnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit on the fence about this book. Without a doubt, I think the diet plan is garbage. It's another take on the low carb, high protein diets that fall in and out of favor with the public. I just don't buy that the vast majority of people can commit planning out 4-6 meals a day, every day, indefinitely and ensure they are getting X% of this and Y% of that. Perhaps sticking to it for a few weeks, for some people, will help them develop a sense for the types of foods and amounts they might want ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok
I was really excited about this book after hearing about it on But it turns out that this is just another exercise book. Just another person’s opinion. It conflicts with many of the things I have been taught about exercise, and I don’t mean that in a good way. I refuse to believe that aerobic exercise is as unnecessary as he tries to make it sound. Yes, strength training is key in weight loss and overall fitness. I get that. But in order for them to keep working throughout your ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health-fitness
I've heard a lot about this book over the years so I decided to check out a copy from the library. I'm not a novice to strength training and so I'm not really the target audience. That being said, I think that if you are new to strength training this would be the perfect book.

It's all info that is available on the internet for free. However, there is a lot of nonsense/junk on the internet as well. The authors of this book actually rely on credible science and provide you with facts rather than
Áine Maria
Jul 03, 2013 Áine Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I happened to enjoy reading this, much more than Starting Strength. It's easy to see how some of the writing would offend some ladies but I just imagined Lou as That Guy Who Means Well. He reminds me of the nice, well balanced people at the gym who don't care who you are or what you look like as long as you want to do your best. These are the people that walk over with a good tip once in a while if they notice something about your form or whatnot.

Reading his experience as a "nonwoman" almost kil
May 08, 2012 Deidre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really can't decide if I like this book or not. I don't hate it, but I wasn't blown away into happy bookland bliss with amazement. There is information that I don't agree with the author presenting the way he does that was a bit of a roadblock for me in enjoying the reading, the main one being his "get off the treadmill because we weren't meant to run long distances". That not only clashes with other research I've read, it also presents the idea that people should only be interested in fitness ...more
Mar 02, 2015 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you peruse women's fitness books and magazines, you'll notice an overuse of words like "sexy," "slim," "hot," "toned," all accompanied with an sexualized photo of a woman's butt or abs. With this, you get a really awesome picture of a woman's defined back and arms and the inspiring phrase of "looking like a goddess." That alone hooked me into buying it.

After reading through the whole thing, I loved that Schuler advocates for eating properly and building strength, not trying to look good for o
Eddy Allen
Mar 29, 2014 Eddy Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you believe what most women's magazines tell you, muscles can be "shaped," "toned," and "sculpted" with nothing more than a little dumbbell that weighs less than a can of peas. But muscles aren't modeling clay, and the only way to transform them is to strengthen them. The New Rules of Lifting for Women is for the woman who's ready to throw down the "Barbie" weights and start a strength and conditioning program that will give her the body of her dreams.

The book puts to rest the shop-worn no
You have to get through about 100 pages of the book to even reach the weight lifting exercises. And even then, the photos aren't very good and there aren't any modifications. If you are a true beginner to lifting weights, this book isn't for you. For those who use this book, you will need weights, a barbell, a pullup device on your door, step, and other home gym equipment. The author's premise is to encourage women to lift heavier weights than 2-3 pounds. I agree. I've seen great results from he ...more
Apr 27, 2013 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fitness
Don't get me wrong, I'm sold on the whole 'heavy lifting' argument, but I found this book poorly written. Firstly, it's written by a guy who's made a living out of giving health and fitness advice out to people in various media forums over the years, and clearly he's been either heavily influenced by either editors or money (or both) which leaves me questioning his credibility. I felt most of the book focussed on refuting previously conflicting advice he's given over the years, and justifying wh ...more
Feb 18, 2011 Gnomad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, fitness
I feel a bit odd about reviewing a book that I *only* read. I haven't actually gone through his six month training plan, but I did read the rest of the book, and did find myself wanting to hate strength training slightly less than I normally do. Schuler was aware of the fact that he is a man trying to prescribe a set of activities to women, and I felt like he was doing his best to stick to useful, well documented advice and not veer off into mansplaining. I think he mostly succeeded though I tak ...more
Syzygous Zygote
Jan 20, 2011 Syzygous Zygote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mens' and womens' bodies aren't *that* different, but understanding what differences there are was a big reason I picked up this book, and I wasn't disappointed. I really like the pragmatic, whole-body approach to building practical strength, rather than the stereotypical approach of isolating specific muscles with machines and doing millions of crunches. This is a good place for a first-timer at picking up heavy things to start.

The section on food argues well against cutting calories, which is
Apr 02, 2014 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, how-to
Haven't tried the diet/exercise plan yet, but I plan to start this lifting routine after I complete a 10k race in a few weeks. Since I'm mostly vegetarian/vegan, I don't expect to follow the diet. I like the conversational and no-nonsense tone of the writing and the author's avoidance of bunk pseudoscience that so many fitness and health books seem to thrive on.
A good, informative read - I'll try to remember to come back and update this review in 6 months once I've completed the program.
Feb 26, 2017 Deana rated it it was amazing
ETA: Ahh yes, after reading some of the other reviews about this, I should add... something I did not like about the book. But I'd forgotten about it until I read the reviews, because I like the workout plans and advice. I do remember being turned off by a bunch of stuff as I was reading it though. Most of those things were that it is written by a man, about women, and he doesn't let you forget that. He makes comments about it, most of which aren't really offensive (to me), but it's annoying and ...more
Jan 22, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle aka Mishka84
Great book! If you are looking to get into weightlifting or even if you're not but you're not getting results from the gym, put down the Barbie dumbbells and read this!

The gloves are off in this frank and often funny insight into the world of weightlifting. The majority of women are terrified of the weights bench and even the heavier free weights with this shared mentality that if they start to lift heavy they will sprout Arnie muscles over night and 'bulk up' or look too 'big'


Arrrggghhhh Yes yo
May 21, 2013 Samantha rated it it was amazing
This was a great book to read. I had started off lifting weights with one of my guy friends. At first I resisted because I would tell him that as a girl I couldn't do the same things that a guy does in the weight lifting department. After awhile I fell in love with weight lifting and wanted more information. The New Rules of lifting really teaches you a lot of information without being a boring book. I haven't started the exercise program yet, I wanted to read the whole book and know the whole p ...more
Jun 08, 2009 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I waited until I did a couple of the workouts to review it and I can say it is excellent. The first part of the book is devoted to dispelling all the myths associated with women and weight lifting such as women shouldn't lift heavy weights, etc. While that may sound boring and technical it was just the opposite. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things he wrote. It also has a fairly extensive section on nutrition with recipes for meal planning included. ...more
I am totally on the fence about this book. On the one hand, it speaks to me. It is based on well-researched science and validates some things that I have believed for years. On the other hand, it's written by a man. I am very skeptical of anything where a man is telling a woman about how her body works. I changed my diet according to this book and started Stage 1 - I gained weight and found the workout to be ineffective with the setup that I have at home. This workout requires either a large inv ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Heather rated it liked it
This was a pretty decent read. I liked the authors easy writing style and regular punches of humour. Even with all the science i didn't feel overwhelmed at any time. A little put off at how often he mentions he was wrong in the past...if you were so wrong then, what makes you right now?!

The majority of the exercises provided and illustrated are NOT suitable to do at home unless you're willing to invest in a fair amount of equipment.

The meal plans were pure tripe - I don't see why he pushed whey
Denisse Garza
Excellent book.

If you asked me to summarize this book briefly in a few words, I would say, women: do not fear to go pump some heavy iron. Cardio won't do, really. Muscle is your friend

I didn't give it 5 stars because I don't agree to the whole thing "eat every 2 hours to keep your metabolism working". For me that's not practical, and if you want to try something new read about intermittent fasting. Either Eat stop eat, Leangains or the Warrior Diet will do, google about it if you don't know wha
Schuler has an annoying writing style and I think he underestimates how intimidating the entire barbell section of the gym is to women. The book briefly mentions the fact that women are more prone to sports related injuries, but it doesn't adequately address proper precautions women should take.

I really do like the workout plan. Most every move in the book uses multiple muscle groups. This means you can get a complete workout and be out of the gym in an hour. I skipped the food section.
Becky Lipsitz
Jan 12, 2013 Becky Lipsitz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading it, but ask me again in six months if it works.

The way the workouts and diets were written out is amazing. I'm not following the diet verbatim but have made some modifications based on the science they explain. I AM following the workout verbatim. Am on the second one and am not lying when I say I feel stronger already.

Anyway, this is great. Schuler is really funny and it's organized well and easy to follow. Four stars because the plot was kind of weak.
Jan 09, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most of what I read in this book made sense to me and, though the "diet plan" doesn't really fall in line with more recent studies, I love the workouts and how everything is laid out for you. If you've never lifted weights before, or you've been doing it a while, this book is an excellent resource to know what to do to get the body of a goddess. I can't wait to give the workouts a try!
Jun 19, 2015 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've only read through the book and have not done the workouts. Overall it was quite enjoyable. It was broken down in simple terms. I did find the workout logs confusing. It took me several times reading through the workouts to understand what I'm supposed to do on each day.
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“...if you use a standard called "biological value" to rate protein sources... soy finishes far below eggs, milk, fish, beef and chicken. The food with the highest biological value ever measured is whey protein...” 3 likes
“Protein is to diets what black is to fashion: it makes everyone thinner.” 1 likes
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